PEOPLE struggling to make ends meet are being given a helping hand with the opening of a new food bank.
North End Baptist Church launched the food bank after realising there was a need for one in the north of the city.
Twenty-five per cent of people who use the food bank are actually working and on low incomesRev Tracey Ansell
Currently dozens of families in the area are given help with travel to visit food banks in Southsea.
The Rev Tracey Ansell and manager Emily Warden have partnered up with Kings Church, in Southsea, to run the food bank in Powerscourt Road church on Tuesday evenings from 5pm to 6pm.
Mrs Ansell said: ‘Kings Church deal with thousands of people across the city.
‘About 35 of them were getting help to travel down to Southsea.
‘We felt that we could offer a service here for local people in need to save them travelling.
‘Twenty-five per cent of people who use the food bank are actually working and on low incomes.
‘That is why we felt the best time to open would be 5pm to 6pm, to help those people who need to come after work.’
Mrs Ansell said the decision to visit a food bank is not taken lightly.
‘We have found that people really have to be in quite a desperate situation to walk through the doors and ask for some help with food,’ she said.
‘We want to try and put people at ease, to make them realise there is no shame in what they are doing.
‘The reasons people use food banks can be anything from an unexpected bill, or parents struggling to feed children in the summer holidays when they would usually get free school meals during term-time.
‘Around a quarter of people struggle while their benefits are being reassessed.
‘And we expect it to be used even more when the benefit changes come in with Universal Credit.’
Car rental company Enterprise have given the church a helping hand with a £1,000 donation to buy food.
Food bank visitors are issued with three vouchers in 12 months by agencies including social services, GPs and Citizens Advice Bureau.